5 Teaching Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Teachers just get back to school from Winter Break and then Martin Luther King, Jr. Day comes along. I don't know about you, but I never felt like I did this day justice in my classroom. We would be getting back to our routines, and I never felt like I focused enough of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s story.
One reason for this is that our school didn't have resources to teach about him. Everyone had to scramble to find something. Teachers who had been around forever tended to use the same thing over and over again, but I never felt like I found anything worth keeping.
So, now that I have more time to search for resources, I wanted to make your lives easier by collecting 5 really great resources here. I pulled with kids from about 3rd to 8th grade in mind.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speech is the "I Have a Dream" speech delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. This video shows the speech. I am so glad that this video exists because Martin Luther King, Jr. is such a powerful speaker. The video is just short of 20 minutes.
I also included a .pdf with the text of the speech. It is pretty long - six pages, but you may want to have a copy available. There is also a lot of beautiful figurative language that you can pull out as examples for your students.
This movie is so much fun in its early 90s glory. Tons of very famous actors lent their voices to the movie. It is a cartoon that tells the story of two boys who travel back in time to different periods in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. Some video clips are also included. The movie is about 1 hour long.
This article from Scholastic News goes into to detail about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. Advanced students could probably handle reading the entire article, but I would break the article up into sections and assign one section per student. Then, students could jigsaw and share what they learned.
Don't let the cute decorations fool you. This is not a mini-book for little kids. This free mini-book by Blair Turner is not paired with a reading passage, so you will have to provide the resources for kids to learn the information they need to complete the book, but the resources I have shared so far will be helpful.
A helpful note on how to print the book: The file is a .pdf, so you can print it as a booklet. Use either 11 x 17 or legal sized paper and select "Booklet" in Adobe. The pages will print in a way that allows you to just fold and staple. This saves you paper (hello, copy budget!) and time. Plus, it feels more like a book.
My last resource is one that I created several years ago and updated just this year. It has a three-page reading passage all about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life. What is different than most reading passages about Martin Luther King, Jr. is that it also touches on the historical events and people that touched his life including Martin Luther, Mahatma Gandhi, and Communism. There are four differentiated versions of the reading passage and worksheets/questions to give kids a chance to use the text.
The reading passage is $4 at Teachers pay Teachers, but you can get one of the versions of the reading passage for free on my website. It also has pictures to go along with the reading passage.
I hope that these resources are helpful as you plan for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! If you have a resource that you think would be helpful, please share it in the comments!